Monthly Archives: June 2012

Update Your Status


Your HIV status…do you know it?

Today is National HIV Testing Day, established in 1985. Find a testing site near you.

Get tested. Know your status. Visit

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Posted by on June 27, 2012 in Education, Family, Health



Papers, Please!

The proverbial slippery slope…

I’ve written about Arizona immigration “enforcement” before and I guess today, was a step forward in the right direction… However, the court didn’t strike down immigration checks during “traffic stops” which was the most disgusting part of that law for me. Arizona officers will still stop people based on how they look- this is racial profiling.

Obama said he was “concerned about the practical impact” of this remaining provision. “We must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans.”

SCOTUS seemed to show confusion, even the liberal judges, at the Obama Administration’s concern about such checks. And I have to admit, I am disappointed with Sotomayor, NOT because of her ethnicity but how can she not see the slipperiness…what am I missing?

I understand protecting the borders, the issues presented by undocumented workers (including exploitation of the worker) and the potential costs/losses in tax revenue. But I guess I simply can not wrap my mind around this complex issue and the legalities involved. My ancestors were not immigrants but property and did not come here willingly, therefore I can not empathize. However, I know that many of the SB 1070 proponents’ ancestry includes immigrants. That is not to say, there needs to be no process but this issue is rife with hyprocrisy.

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Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Civil Rights, Family, Politics, Race


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Twenty-four Balloons

A few weeks ago, my children and I went to a cook-out to celebrate the life of a young man who was killed in February. His birthday was the day before the event; he would have been 24.

Mid-evening, white balloons were handed to relatives and friends to release after a prayer and a moment of silence. Before we released the balloons, people had the opportunity to share thoughts and memories- a few did.

The young man’s uncle was the last to speak and his words ring in my ears; I am hopeful they remain with others as well. He said he had many nice things to say about his nephew like everyone else, but he wanted to know who killed him. He implored anyone with information to share it.

“It’s been five months…do it so his parents and siblings can have some peace.” He continued by saying if someone hurt his loved one, he would tell. Then he began to get angry and emotional and his sister thanked everyone for their words.

As those balloons rose in the air, I thought about how many families have the same pain in their hearts. I thought about how unnatural it was yet such violence and death has become a frequent occurrence. I thought about my fiancee who was killed when we were in college. I thought about when I first met the young man we were honoring at 17. I thought about my four year-old son, a black boy, who was playing inside with some other children, without a care. Then, I hugged and kissed his parents.

I continue to lend any support that I can to his family, but know too well that it is not enough. This epidemic continues and as a society we remain crippled, angry or oblivious in its wake. How many more young black men will die violently before it truly matters?

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Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Family, Race, Reflection, women, Youth



The Riot Within


Rodney King was found in his swimming pool this morning. Police were called to the scene and their attempts to resusitate him failed. The cause of death is unknown. King was 47.

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Posted by on June 17, 2012 in Civil Rights, History, Race



Father and Son

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Posted by on June 14, 2012 in Education, Family, Fun, women, Youth


The Cost of War

Kim Phuc turns 40 and recalls her story.



Raise the Roof…Again

First he raised the roof, now he’s raising the stakes. Pastor Corey Brooks continues to work to bring awareness to the ongoing violence in Chicago’s southside. This recent holiday weekend was especially fatal for far too many.

Last I wrote about Brooks, he was living on the roof of a building that his church has since purchased and torn down. They are building a community and economic development center. Today he is walking across the country, from New York’s Times Square to LA’s Staples Center, to raise awareness about gun violence and to raise $15 million for the center.

“We want to build this debt-free,” said Brooks, citing that one of the many problems plaguing inner-city communities in debt.

As he and his group cross the country, they are asking people to join the walk when it enters their city. The goal is to complete 30 miles per day. They are in Newark today and Philly tomorrow. Although DC is not on their route, I am definitely with them in spirit and plan to donate. I admire those who can think outside the box, especially to address our many social ills. For more information and to donate, visit

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Posted by on June 7, 2012 in Family, Reflection, Youth



Movie Night


Last weekend my daughter and I scored some much-needed alone time. Surprisingly, rather than retreat to her room, she suggested that we pop some popcorn and watch movies. You can’t imagine my joy.

She quickly selected The Boy With the Striped Pajamas, having recently read a book penned during the Holocaust. Her class watched a portion of the movie at school and discussed many of the issues involved.

Meanwhile in history class, they were studying human rights violations across the globe, from Cambodia to Rwanda to the USA. We had some discussion about Jim Crow, Tiananman Square, Kent State and Tutsi vs Hutu. It is exhausting and sorrowful to explain the inexplicable to your child- to describe the depravity of man.

Up watching late-night tv, I noticed The Boy In The Striped Pajamas in the guide and recorded it. There were a few times during the movie when she would look at me with a blank look. She later explained to me that her teacher said that the character of the Jewish boy was for dramatic effect because children that young were put in the crematorium.

Of course we talked a lot afterward; I had to make sure she was okay (and me too). She wanted to watch Hotel Rwanda next but I told her we should save it for another night.


As we flipped for something else, I came across American History X. I sighed and she wanted to know what it was about. After I explained what skinheads were, she wanted to watch. After a while, she said, “I thought you needed a break.” I did, but couldn’t let her watch that alone. I told her at least in this one, you had someone who was seeking redemption and wanted to change. We didn’t finish the movie and Hotel Rowanda is still on hold.

My mom asked why they were reading such books at school. I told her it’s history; they need to learn and try to understand the background of the world. She grunted.


You’re Outta Here!

Honored last night by the legendary Apollo Theater, Lionel Richie was inducted into the Apollo Hall of Fame.

It’s hard to believe that he was kicked out of the famous group, the Commodores, who have been “crying in their beer” ever since. I caught an interview not long ago as Richie promoted Tuskegee, his new smash country album and he recounted being kicked out of the group; my mouth dropped open, always thinking he opted out for a solo career.

As a child in the eighties, I can vividly remember the videos and my mother pumping the Lionel Richie on the record player… yeah that’s what I said… I loved his music: Hello, Truly, Penny Lover and who could forget the party anthem, All Night Long.

When I first heard that Richie was dropping a new album of his hits re-recorded for the country genre I thought, “that man’s a genius!” I’m not a country fan, although I have a few favs (Shania Twain, Rascal Flatts and Sugarland – who are all featured on the new album), I know the power of country music on the charts and in the industry. Tuskegee is already platinum in only two months and is the number two best-selling album of 2012 after Adele’s 21… give it time.

Soooo, what are the Commodores up to now?…smdh

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Posted by on June 5, 2012 in History, Music


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The New Food “Pyramid”


This article explains well why it is so difficult to affordably feed the average family healthy meals. It breaks down the interconnection of lobby dollars, food costs, subsidies and legislation.

Rising health costs, overweight kids and poor nutrition will continue if we as voters and communities don’t pressure our representatives. I’m not against junk food- I enjoy the ocassional soda and chips as much as anybody, but…when I’m in the grocery store it pisses me off when I see the price of the 100% juice and the cereals that I buy compared to others that are devoid of nutrition. Fruit should not be optional depending on how much money you make. As the author alludes, Twinkies shouldn’t be so much cheaper than carrots…smdh…

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Posted by on June 1, 2012 in Education, Family, Health, Politics, Youth



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